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Author Topic: Grappling Harpoons and Tethering(NOT BOARDING)  (Read 2153 times)

whoopWHAT

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Grappling Harpoons and Tethering(NOT BOARDING)
« on: March 13, 2018, 07:42:15 PM »

Idea
One of the things that I have been thinking about in the back of my mind now is the idea of grappling harpoons, similar to the grappling hooks used in naval combat back in the golden age of sailing and piracy. However, instead of facilitating boarding like in the old days, for Starsector, the purpose of Grappling onto your opponent is to pull their ships out of position, and for the enemy to be able to do the same to you.

Design-wise, harpoons are a projectile-style weapon that does not go through shields, and deals downright pitiful shield damage. This makes it such that fully shielded targets are impervious to their effects. In return, if the harpoon hits an un-shielded target, they become tethered to the ship that hit them. Tethering comes with several inherent advantages and disadvantages.


Advantages: :D
1) Tethers affect the movement of ships involved in the tether.(see below)
2) Tethering allows for maneuvers and tactics that are not available in the base version of the game.

Disadvantages: :'(
1) Tethers affect the movement of ships involved in the tether.(see below)
2) Tethering fundamentally changes the dynamics of the game itself.


Design & Balance ???
I fully understand that instating tethers would be an extremely complex system to set up programming-wise and resource-wise, so allow me to guarantee (to the best of my ability) that the mechanic would be worth the hassle. Tethered ships(this includes the ship that fired the tether) would function in accordance with physics for as much as is possible. This means that fighters would be able to carry harpoons, but they would only be able to pull a battleship very slowly at best, and be yanked behind the battleship itself if it was in motion. This goes in both directions-swarms of harpoon fighters would be able to pull even the largest ships out of position, no matter how much momentum they have. This ties in with how powerful a ships' engines are in relation to how powerful the tethered ships' engines are, in addition to the mass of each ship. For the most part, these are already known values, so it should simply be a matter of calculating the angle of the tethers' pull and their force and using that to modify the movement of the ship in question based on the point of contact of the tether itself. This would have multiple uses beyond merely moving enemies out of position, tethers could also be used to move your own ships, using a vast number of tethered fighters or tugs to pull battleships into battle at an increased speed. Or even using derelict/destroyed ships or even asteroids as one-use sling bullets. This also makes ships with burn drive much more useful, as they can tether to an enemy, turn back towards your fleet, and burn drive to pull them back into the hornet's nest.

There are quite a few limiting factors of Grappling Hooks as well: The first and most prominent being that they take up weapon slots and are useless on shielded targets. Grappling Hooks would also not affect intangible ships; intangible ships cannot activate their intangible if they have active tethers. In addition, ships that can phase shift will instantly break any tethers(either on or fired by them) as soon as they use such an ability. These would be to prevent a vast majority of bugs, while still making sense in-universe and balance wise, as ships with phase-shift/intangible are meant to be agile skirmishers for the most part, and should have an easier time of escaping from situations where they would get locked down already.

Another limiting factor is that tethers(in my opinion) should NOT have the ability to reel in targets. In addition to this making the process of coding the system vastly more complicated, this would also force players to rely on the coordination of multiple ships instead of allowing one ship to reel 'em in, chew 'em up, and spit 'em out. That being said, reeling in is still a mechanic that might be viable if that is desired, as it allows for single ships with harpoons to have a lot more power, and put a lot more emphasis on large amounts of high-damage short range weapons and long range shield damaging weapons, increasing build diversity at the expense of tactical diversity.

Conclusion 8)
Overall, I feel that grappling harpoons like this are an idea that should be implemented, but I'm not getting my hopes up. With a system this complicated, I feel that even if it does pose a large number of benefits to the game right now, it would not be put in simply for the amount of resources required to put into such a system to make it function.

Either way, I'm looking forward to what you all have to say about such an idea.  ;D
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 07:56:38 PM by whoopWHAT »
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Kirschbra

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Re: Grappling Harpoons and Tethering(NOT BOARDING)
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 05:23:44 PM »

I can't believe no one has said anything on this yet, hopefully alex is too busy getting ready to launch 0.9 next week  ;) :-*

Personally, I agree, I think this could add a lot to game play if done correctly, not only could you try to hold them in place, (I think reel is mandatory however) but you could also cause collisions! I see something like this primarily being used by pirates.

I don't think the physics of this would be that hard for alex to program, I think the hardest part of this would be programming the AI to use it properly, not only in one on one situations, but getting smaller ships to use it in a collaborated effort on larger ships.

as far as fighters go... I'd leave them out of this all together.

However! letting the Tug use it in battle to pull capitols to the front line faster would help, as well as the tug pulling enemy capitols in.

probably a little late in development to push something this big into the game at this point, but alex has mentioned expansions after the games completion. 
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jupjupy

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Re: Grappling Harpoons and Tethering(NOT BOARDING)
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 09:26:25 PM »

A few mods used to (and I think some still do) have weapons with a tractor-beam like effect, where it simply slows the target down to a crawl, or even holds it completely stationary as long as the beam holds on them.

If those ever get put into vanilla proper, I could see harpoons as being a low-tech alternative that don't go through shields but cost very little flux.
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TJJ

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Re: Grappling Harpoons and Tethering(NOT BOARDING)
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 03:37:17 AM »

Doesn't seem to me like it'd fit very well with the existing style of gameplay & lore.
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Tartiflette

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Re: Grappling Harpoons and Tethering(NOT BOARDING)
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 07:35:46 AM »

(Actually it already can be properly done via modding and it is fun to use)
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xenoargh

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Re: Grappling Harpoons and Tethering(NOT BOARDING)
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 10:32:14 AM »

A.  There are mechanics like this already, in mods :)
B.  They’re fun; whether or not they’re balanced is pretty dependent on what you’re fighting.
C.  What you’re proposing is pretty easy, other than doing it really nicely from a graphical standpoint. 
D.  I think the largest issue with the idea is that the relative handful of ships that would be really affected by this are already very weak.  If it penetrated shields, it’d be much more balanced.
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whoopWHAT

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Re: Grappling Harpoons and Tethering(NOT BOARDING)
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2018, 11:25:40 AM »

To all those who have responded:

1) I didn't know this was already a thing in mods, I looked and couldn't find then(may have just skimmed over them). Either way, the point is NOT to merely have it be a modded addition to the game, but to be an in-game mechanic. If this forum was a suggestion for mods, then I'd have talked about what kinds of mods I wanted, not things that I want in the base game itself.
2) I can see the argument for the shield piercing harpoon, but I raise you the fact that only omni-shields fully protect from grappling hooks, and we all know how easy those are to overload with sustained firepower. Making them pierce shields might be necessary at one point to balance them later-on, but for the debut, I feel like the idea is more kosher to the current gameplay by having them not pierce shields, like other ballistic style weaponry.
3) My point about putting them onto fighters was such that I'd assume that a full fighter wing with all hooks attached could pull around an average frigate. With this approximation as the starting point, the mass and engine power of the ships definitely matters. The goal was to introduce new build diversity to the game; instead of focusing 100% on guns and armor/shields, there's more a place for speed and taking into consideration the actual weight of the ships and the location of engines.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 12:44:40 PM by whoopWHAT »
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